Robin Born from St. Gallen2016.12.06 Minseon Ku 949
Robin Born (Swiss)
Accounting and Finance
University of St. Gallen
Yonsei a Link to “Mother”land
Although overwhelmed by the noise and crowd at twelve midnight the very first time he stepped out of the Sinchon subway station on the day he arrived in Seoul, Robin is no stranger to Korea. Born to a Swiss father and Korean mother, he had visited Busan every few years as a child to visit his maternal relatives. This genealogical reason was the first, and a big part of the reason why Robin chose Korea over Australia for his study abroad program as he felt “embarrassed” among other Swiss-Koreans that he could not speak a word of his mother’s native language. Although he was not forced by his mother to spend a semester abroad in Korea, Robin felt he had the responsibility to learn his “mother” tongue language so that he could communicate with his Korean relatives. He maintains close ties with his Korean cousins as he remembers spending time playing with them as children even though they could not communicate verbally. While language barrier was not a big problem when they were children, as they grew older, Robin realized the importance of learning Korean language not only to keep in touch but to communicate effectively with his cousins. Second, genealogy also explains why he chose Yonsei over other universities in Korea. His friends recommended Yonsei because it had the best Korean language program in the country.
Already in his last semester of graduate coursework, the courses related to his Accounting and Finance major offered in Yonsei could not be transferred back to Robin’s home university, University of St. Gallen, as he had already taken all the required courses. This, however, proved to be a fortunate thing for him as he is taking law-related courses in the department of Political Science and the Law School that not only complements and supplements what he has learned back in St. Gallen but will also help him in his future career in banking and finance.
His favorite course in Yonsei, titled “Dispute Settlement Practice on International Economic Law,” is taught by a practicing lawyer at one of the biggest law firms in Asia in investment dispute settlement. Robin has learned what he could not learn back in St. Gallen which he believes gives him a competitive edge in his future career. In this course, Robin not only learns a lot in the classroom, but the instructor also invited students over to his law firm office where students got to witness and experience firsthand the office environment and work of a practicing lawyer in the field of investment dispute settlement. In addition, Robin loves the smaller class sizes (of fewer than 10 students) in Yonsei graduate-level courses. He finds this an advantage as it not only increases interactions between professors and students, but also motivates him to prepare for classes diligently as he has to contribute frequently to class discussions.
Studying in Yonsei also allows Robin to fully experience “Seoul lifestyle” as he gets to live in the densely-populated Sinchon-Hongdae area which he has never experienced before in Switzerland. As for his future plans, Robin foresees himself coming back to Korea as early as next year to learn business Korean language or in the near future to work in the Korean branch of Swiss banks for a few years.